Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Sixth CNRP Official Arrested Following Protest

The Cambodia Daily

A sixth CNRP official was arrested shortly before 11 a.m. Wednesday following an opposition protest near Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park Tuesday that turned violent, according to local rights group Licadho.

Police stopped a car belonging to Licadho that was traveling away from the municipal courthouse in Chamkar Mon district and pulled out Oeur Narith, an official in the CNRP’s public affairs department, who was inside, according to Am Sam Ath, technical supervisor for the rights group.

Municipal riot police stand guard Wednesday morning outside the Phnom Penh municipal courthouse, where five arrested CNRP lawmakers-elect were questioned for their involvement in a protest that turned violent on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“We don’t know what sort of alleged offense he was involved in for this latest arrest, but we know that the arrest was made without any court warrant,” said Mr. Sam Ath.

Ket Khy, a lawyer for the CNRP, said that Mr. Narith was sent directly to court following his arrest to be questioned for his involvement in Tuesday’s violence.

Four CNRP lawmakers-elect, including the party’s public affairs director Mu Sochua, were arrested Tuesday morning after an opposition protest to “free the Freedom Park” turned violent, with protesters attacking and seriously injuring an estimated six Daun Penh district security guards.

Another lawmaker-elect present at the protest, Real Camerin, was arrested early Wednesday in Battambang province, according to National Police spokesman Kirth Chantarith.

“At about 2 a.m., we arrested Real Camerin in Battambang province as he was trying to escape,” he said. “He was arrested for…leading an anarchic demonstration and using violence on police.”

The arrested lawmakers-elect—Ms. Sochua, Mr. Camerin, Ho Vann, Men Sothavrin and Keo Phirum—were held overnight in Phnom Penh police headquarters and transported to the municipal court at about 7 a.m. Wednesday.

The CNRP leaders were questioned in court throughout the morning.

After holding a press conference at 9 a.m., CNRP Vice President Kem Sokha led a convoy of about 100 opposition supporters to the municipal court. Mr. Sokha stayed at the court for about ten minutes before leaving, telling reporters that he would petition foreign embassies to demand the immediate release the detained party leaders.

Thirty-nine Daun Penh district security guards who claim to have been injured in Tuesday’s clash filed a complaint with municipal police alleging that the five arrested lawmakers-elect, along with Khin Chumroeun, another CNRP official, were responsible for the violence.

The complaint says the six CNRP officials led a 1,000-strong effort to attempt to illegally occupy Freedom Park, causing Daun Penh authorities to send in “competent forces” to “maintain public order and security.”

“Suddenly, Mu Sochua, Real Camerin, Ho Vann, Keo Phirum and Men Sothavrin loudly ordered and incited their group, saying ‘yuon, yuon,’ [a term for Vietnamese] and committing violence on competent forces in an attempt to occupy Freedom Park, which is a prohibited area, causing us to be critically injured,” the complaint says.

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